Peter Sellars, Professor
World Arts and Cultures
Peter Sellars has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists. He has staged operas at the Dutch National Opera, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opéra National de Paris, Salzburg Festival, and San Francisco Opera, among others.
He has collaborated on the creation of many works with composer John Adams, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, and The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Inspired by the compositions of Kaija Saariaho, Sellars has guided the creation of productions of her work that have expanded the repertoire of modern opera.
Recent projects include concert stagings of Pélleas et Melisande and Le Grand Macabre with the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestras, the staging of Ms. Saariaho’s new opera Only the Sound Remains in Amsterdam and Helsinki, and a revival of his production of Oedipus Rex/Symphony of Psalms in Aix-en- Provence. Sellars served as the Music Director of the 2016 Ojai Music Festival.
Sellars continues his collaboration with flex dance pioneer Reggie Gray and a group of 21 dancers from the New York City flex on Flexn, a powerful work confronting issues of social injustice in America which has been presented in
New York, Marseille, Naples, at the prestigious dance festival Jacob’s Pillow, and will be seen this summer in Amsterdam, Recklinghausen and Carnuntum. Upcoming projects in 2017 include productions of La Clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg Festival and the premiere of John Adams’ new opera GIrls of the Golden West at the San Francisco Opera.
Sellars has led several major arts festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals and the 2002 Adelaide Arts Festival. In 2006 he was Artistic Director of New Crowned Hope, a month-long festival in Vienna for which he invited artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to create new work in the fields of music, theater, dance, film, the visual arts and architecture for the celebration of Mozart’s 250th birth anniversary.
He is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, a resident curator of the Telluride Film Festival, and was a Mentor for the Rolex Arts Initiative. Sellars is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture, the Gish Prize, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize and named Artist of the Year by Musical America.